Bodies of two US service members found near crash site

Investigators have found the bodies of two American service members near the Kyrgyzstan crash site of a military refueling plane, but continue to search for a third crew member, according to multiple media reports.

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The Boeing KC-135 exploded mid-air on Friday after its cargo of 70 tonnes fuel ignited on the way to Afghanistan, investigators said. The crash occurred in the mountains about 100 miles west of an air base the U.S. military operates in Kyrgyzstan to support operations in Afghanistan.

Kuvan Mamakeev, the Kyrgyz state prosecutor responsible for investigating transport crimes and accidents, told Reuters that investigators were still trying to determine the cause of the crash.

"It could be because of the fuel, because of the engine, the weather conditions or the human factor," he told the wire service.

Remnants of the plane were strewn over a three-mile area near the village of Chaldovar. A village council member said that those living nearby were worried the aircraft could fall onto their homes.

"I heard a very loud explosion," Emil Bokochev told the Associated Press. "Literally six or seven seconds afterward there was another explosion and the plane broke apart into four or five pieces and at that moment we thought it was going to fall on the village Chaldovar."

According to the wire service, the American use of the Manas air base adjacent to the international airport servicing Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital, has become a contentious issue within the country. The American lease on the base runs out in June, 2014, and Kyrgyz officials are reluctant to further extend access to the airfield.

The crash Friday was the second high-profile plane crash for an American aircraft in the region. On Monday, a private Boeing 747-400 cargo plane crashed at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Video of the accident, which killed all seven American crew members aboard, was captured on the dash camera of a nearby vehicle. The gruesome footage has been widely shared across the internet.